Tag Archives: Utica Unicorns

What’s New with the United Shore League

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
May 11th is Opening Day for the 2017 United Shore Professional Baseball League Season
Utica, Mich. – The United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), metro-Detroit’s first independent professional baseball league, will open its second season on May 11, 2017, 7:05 pm at Jimmy John’s Field in downtown Utica, when the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers face the hometown favorite, and reigning champion, Utica Unicorns. Games will be played every Thursday through Sunday until September 10, 2017.
New Team
Fans can expect an array of new and exciting sights, sounds and scents in 2017. For starters, the league has added a fourth team to the roster. The Westside Woolly Mammoths will battle it out with the Utica Unicorns, Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers and Eastside Diamond Hoppers for this year’s pennant.
New Ballpark Features
The league is adding new outdoor bars to its 3 picnic patio areas (Right Field Patio, Left Field Patio, and Chevrolet Pavilion). The full service bars will feature fountain soda, draft beer, and TV’s to catch all the latest scores. The league also is adding a new stage beyond the right centerfield wall to showcase the many bands that play at the ballpark throughout the season.
New Food
The league has hired new executive head chef Joseph Johnson – most recently from the Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island and The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth. Joining him is David Parker, the league’s new director of food and beverage, who brings considerable experience via the Montgomery Biscuits (AA affiliate team of the Tampa Bay Ray’s), Lansing Lugnuts and The Great Lakes Loons. Also new to the food and beverage staff is Nathan Liska, assistant director of food and beverage. Liska was formerly a chef at Andiamo Restaurant and The Tiger Den in Comerica Park.
The new staff has made significant changes to the type and quality of food that will be served at Jimmy John’s Field during the 2017 season. Fans can expect a lot more cooked to order foods made with fresh ingredients—the league is even planting its own herb garden to use in its recipes. The USPBL also hired a BBQ Pit Master and will be serving fresh, smoked on site BBQ favorites such as pulled pork, wings, ribs and chicken. Fans will also be able to enjoy such wide-varying fare as: Philly Cheese Steak Nachos, Foot-Long Hot Dogs and Sausages, Garlic Fries and more.  Additionally, fans will be able to enjoy Chick-fil-A on Thursday nights and Lou & Harry’s, an East Lansing institution, on Friday nights.
New Promotions
The USPBL is all about affordable family fun and has lined-up an exciting season of promotional game days and nights, including:
  • The Human Cannon Ball
  • World Famous Team Ghost Riders (the cowboy monkeys who performed at the inaugural opening day in 2016)
  • Helicopter Candy Drops for Kids
  • The Zooperstars
  • America’s Got Talent’s Quick Change
  • Jake the Diamond Dog
  • Jimmy Buffett Night
  • Star Wars Night
  • Peanut Free Night
  • Family Campout Night
  • WCSX Classic Rock Saturdays
  • WYCD Country Music Nights
  • Heritage Nights to honor the German, Greek, Irish, Italian, and Polish communities
  • Bobblehead, Hat & T-Shirt Giveaways
  • Fireworks Spectaculars every Friday night
  • Kids run the bases after every game
A complete list of promotions and dates can be found at https://uspbl.com/promotions/.
Tickets are affordably priced and start at just $12 in the grandstand and $6 dollars for lawn. Tickets can be purchased at the box office at Jimmy John’s Field or online at https://uspbl.com/tickets/.  Parking is free.
About United Shore Professional Baseball League     
Rochester, MI-based General Sports and Entertainment founded the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), an independent professional baseball league, in Metro Detroit in 2015.  The league plays in the new, state-of-the-art $16 million ballpark named Jimmy John’s Field located in downtown Utica, Mich.  The first of its kind for the region, the USPBL provides a fun and exciting family atmosphere while showcasing top baseball talent to fans of all ages. The inaugural season of the USPBL, which began on Memorial Day 2016, featured three teams—the Utica Unicorns, the Eastside Diamond Hoppers and the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers, from which 12 players were signed to contracts by Major League organizations. The 2017 USPBL season will feature four teams with the addition of the Westside Woolly Mammoths, and the season will begin on May 11, 2017 and run through September 10, 2017.  Additional teams and ballparks will be added in future years.



Pirates Sign Three From Indy Ball

The Pirates have been busy making minor moves over the last few weeks.  The team has signed Andrew Potter, Zane Chavez and Jose Barraza from independent ball.

Potter, a 22 year old right handed pitcher from the United Shore Pro Baseball League, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. He spent four seasons in the Diamondbacks organization but never played higher than rookie ball.

Potter pitched in 18 games in the Frontier League in 2016 while splitting time between the Southern Illinois Miners and Evansville Otters. He had a combined ERA of 10.59 in 17 IP before being released in July. He then went on to play with the Utica Unicorns of the USPBL.  He fared much better there where he posted a 1.09 ERA with 19 strikeouts and only 3 walks in 19 innings.

Chavez, a 29 year old catcher from the Laredo Lemurs of the American Association, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 2005 but elected to attend college.  After his college career ended, he played four seasons of indy ball (Can-Am: New Hampshire, Pittsfield, and New Jersey and American Association: Grand Prairie and El Paso) before signing with the Baltimore Orioles organization in 2013. Chavez played two seasons in the Orioles organization, reaching as high as AA before returning to indy ball.

For the 2015 season, he rejoined Grand Prairie where he had a .288 avg and 41 RBI in 80 games. In 2016, Chavez batted .260 with 38 RBI in 70 games for the Lemurs.

Barraza, a 22 year old catcher/first baseman, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2012. He was in the White Sox organization from 2012 to 2014 where he played rookie/A ball.

After being released during spring training in 2015, Barraza turned to indy ball where he joined the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League. In 187 games over two seasons with the Crushers, he collected 100 RBI with a .279 average while splitting time between catcher and first base.